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Shmla’s sanitation workers on strike again, MC plans to outsource SHEB Society to private contractor

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shimla door to door garbage collection

SHEB workers alleged the Mayor of using inappropriate and abusive language when they approached her office to discuss their demands. The workers have demanded an apology from the Mayor.

Shimla: Shimla Municipal Corporation is mulling over plans to outsource work of door-to-door garbage collection to private contractors. The entire sanitation work of Shimla Heritage and Beautification Society (SHEB) costs 4.4 crores rupees per year to MC.  Some private contractors are believed to have their eyes on this amount.

Following it, SHEB Society has warned the Corporation of fast until death if the work is outsourced.

It is pertinent to mention that the SHEB Workers’ Union has initiated a five- day strike from September 1 due to which the sanitation condition of the capital city is likely to get uglier. Along with their demands including a hike in monthly wages, MC’s plan to outsource their work to private hands is another reason for this strike.

Currently, over 900 sanitation workers are employed in garbage collection in Shimla city. The workers said they are paid only Rs. 5800 per month only, which is not sufficient. They are demanding minimum Rs. 10500 as monthly wages.

Though the Mayor of Shimla, Kusum Sadret, denied having any such plans, the proposal for the invitation of tenders was, in fact, presented before the MC House for approval a few days ago.

The copy of the proposal shows that it was duly signed by the MC Health Officer and the Commissioner. The proposal said the SHEB Society is not working properly. The wages of the workers were hiked by 10 percent recently, but still, the workers are threatening to go on strike from September 1, 2017, as they are not satisfied with it.

It is requested to outsource this work of door to door garbage collection by floating tenders from companies/NGOs, Consortium, firms, professionals or individuals for same,

said the proposal.

Previous Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan, condemned this step. He said after coming into power at MC House, Bhartiya Janata Party is trying to privatize the work to benefit their favorites.

The door to door garbage collection facility was launched in 2010. The work was then given to a private company by the BJP-ruled state government. The company had failed in executing the work. Therefore, the work was given to SHEB Society. Workers were recruited and the facility worked efficiently.

As compared to 35 tons of garbage in 2012, currently the SMC is collecting 70 to 80 tons of garbage daily.

Chauhan said that currently 90 percent houses are connected with door to door garbage collection facility. He said the SHEB workers are regularly discharging their duty even in unfavorable weather conditions.

The capital has a waste treatment plant equipped with modern technology that converts garbage into electricity.

During his tenure, Chauhan added, the MC had passed a proposal to consider the SHEB workers as the Corporation employees and sent it to the state government for approval. Hundreds of posts are vacant in MC due to recruitment policy of the government, he said. 

However, the current MC is planning to hand over the SHEB Society to private hands where the workers would be exploited to extract maximum benefit, he said. 

Apparently, the private contractor would be interested in paying minimum wages and take maximum work from these workers.

He said the CPI (M) would not hesitate to launch a campaign against the MC if the decision to outsource SHEB Society is not withdrawn.

The SHEB workers also alleged the Mayor of using inappropriate and abusive language when they approached her office to discuss their demands. The workers said she started hurling abuses at them as soon as they reach the door of her office,

The workers have demanded a written apology from the Mayor.

The Mayor, however, denies these allegations and said the strike by the workers is a pre-planned move. She said it is not feasible to make more hikes in their wages at all. She said the last decision over the demands of the workers will be taken on September 11 after a meeting with the Minister of Urban Development.

The Mayor has also warned the workers of stern action if they continued with their strike.

Misc News/Press Release

IIT Roorkee Proposes Earthquake Early Warning System for Himachal

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Earthquake Early Warning System for Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-Seismic hazard in Himachal Pradesh is very high as the maximum area of the state lies in the Himalayas, which is one of the most seismically active regions in the world. A developed Earthquake Early Warning System could be an effort in the direction to mitigate the seismic hazards in the state.

Therefore, IIT Roorkee has sent a proposal to the State Government to establish an Earthquake Early Warning System(EEW). IIT Roorkee has already installed such Earthquake Early Earning System in Uttarakhand with the help of State Government, which is running very effectively by generating a database of earthquake events, generating public awareness and detailed research on seismic activities.

According to IIT Roorkee’s proposal, Himachal Pradesh may put earthquake sensors in different parts of the State which will detect earthquake activities in real-time. The warning may be communicated to the general public by a network of sirens. If the earthquake has its epicentre in Kangra or Mandi regions, the people in the State Capital may get lead time to take action say by 30 to 35 seconds.

Similarly, the expected lead time to the major cities if 1905 Kangra earthquake repeats in the region would be Solan 42 seconds, Mandi 20 seconds, Dalhousie 8 seconds, Dehradun 77 seconds, Chandigarh 43 seconds, Ludhiana 37 seconds, Amritsar 38 seconds, Panipat 93 seconds and Delhi 123 seconds.

Timely action may save many lives if there is an earthquake in the State in future and such an early warning system is in place and institutionalized and such EEWS will help generating a database of earthquakes in the state and generating mass awareness on earthquake safety.

Regarding this proposal, a meeting to develop Earthquake Early Warning System in Himachal Pradesh was held under the Chairmanship of Principal Secretary Revenue and Disaster Management Onkar Chand Sharma today.

After detailed deliberations, Onkar Sharma said that the State Government may consider and more discussion will be held to take up this proposal.

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Misc News/Press Release

HP Excise and Taxation Department Collects Rs. 6421.55 crore in 2018-19 Financial Year: Govt

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HP Excise and Taxation Department tax collection for 2018-29

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Excise and Taxation department collected Rs. 6421.55 crores towards government ex-chequer during the financial year 2018-19 against the target of Rs. 5860.63 crores.   The department has collected Rs. 1159.74 crores up to May 2019 during current fiscal. This information was released by Principal Secretary (E&T) Sanjay Kundu.

Kundu stressed on the need to run special campaigns for the realization of arrears due under all heads so that more revenue could be added to government ex-chequer. He also directed to work for plugging loopholes and leakages at all levels.

While expressing concern over pending arrears, he directed the department to take a fresh look at the provisions of Excise and Toll policy to make it more effective and realistic to achieve and secure higher revenue. He exhorted to make the excise policy more tourist-friendly by amending the relevant provisions and also by securing the government revenue. 

He emphasized conducting intensive and adequate training programmes for capacity building and to emulate the best practices and models available in the country.

He directed that the department should adopt a more proactive approach for revenue enhancement under Goods & Services Tax Act. The departmental officers in the field should take more interest in tax collection from the service sector in co-ordination with various government departments.

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Campus Watch

HPU VC Faces Backlash After Varsity Releases PG Merit List Without Settling UG Results

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ABVP Protest at HPU against suspension 3

Shimla– The Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh Univesity, Sikander Kumar, is facing backlash from students after he made the varsity a laughing stock by releasing merits list for PG classes without completely declaring and settling results of UG classes.

Both student organisations, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Student Federation of India (SFI) are up in arms against the VC, alleging him of incompetence to handle the affairs of the varsity properly. Also, both students organizations have been alleging the varsity of irregularities in admissions to P.hD and MCA.  

The students are alleging that not only the dictatorial attitude of the VC mentally harassing thousands of students across the state but also harassing those students who are protesting against prevailing disorder and irregularities in the working of the authorities.

It’s pertinent to mention that the varsity on Thursday suspended 10 members of the ABVP for staging protest over delay and irregularities in the UG results due which students were facing huge inconvenience.

ABVP, during another protest on July 19, termed it a dictatorial and one-sided action aimed at suppressing the voices protesting against corruption and the harassments students were facing.

SFI also criticized this action of the varsity. Irrespective of the organization to which they belong, SFI condemns the suspension of these students who were protesting against prevailing disorder at the campus, said SFI campus secretary Jeevan Thakur.

Today, ABVP staged another protest over the suspension of its members at the campus in which students laid down on the ground pretending to be dead bodies, terming it a symbolic representation of the future of students.

ABVP Protest at HPU against suspension5

The students warned that a movement similar to JP Narayan of 1975 that was organized to end the emergency like situation would be re-created against VC’s dictatorship.  ABVP demanded to revoke the suspension of 10 students and properly declare the UG results. The organization warned that if the varsity does not accept these demands, a massive protest would be organized on July 22 – the foundation day of HPU. Chandel has warned that not even the Chief Minister would be allowed to enter the varsity campus on that day.

ABVP Protest at HPU against suspension6

SFI also alleged the current VC of adopting a completely dictatorial attitude towards students and raised questions over the working of the varsity authorities.

The varsity failed to settle the results of the sixth semester of UG classes by July 19. The students are compelled to visit the varsity themselves to get their results corrected. Moreover, without settling UG results, the varsity has released the merit lists of the entrance exams for PG classes, said SFI.

It said the VC is more concerned about protecting his staff responsible for creating disorder and indulging in corrupt practices. Letters with false allegations against them were being sent to the parents of those students who were taking part in protests, which is leading to mental harassment of both students and parents, SFI alleged.

Students are being treated like captives in hostels. Even 24×7 library was made inaccessible to students. The inter-hostel outing in girl hostels was also suspended, said SFI.

The campus president of SFI Vikram Thakur alleged that the varsity is consistently depriving students of their democratic rights. He urged the students to unite in order to end this dictatorial attitude of the VC.

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